In what termed as a “digital airstrike” by Indian media and politicians, the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps citing security concerns. Now, the US could follow India and ban Chinese apps, including TikTok. Speaking to Fox News, the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said, “We are certainly looking at it.”
The decision could also be seen as one of the effects of the rising tension between the US and China. The ban on Chinese apps could be similar to sanctions imposed by the US on the Chinese tech giant Huawei.
Pompeo said, “With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too, Laura. I don’t want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it’s something we’re looking at.”
Lashing out at TikTok, he added that people should download the app “only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Earlier this year, it was revealed that TikTok deliberately suppressed videos of ugly, poor, and disabled users. The app also made it to headlines after it was caught promoting nudity and pornography and was briefly banned in India.
After fears of a possible ban in the US, TikTok has tried to pacify the situation by saying that the company is headed by an American CEO and doesn’t send data to China.
In a statement after Pompeo’s interview, TikTok said, “[It] is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
If the US decides to ban the popular Chinese social media app, it could result in huge losses for ByteDance, the parent company of the app.